Limbic Capitalism

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= "a reference to the part of the brain that deals with pleasure and motivation. As our understanding of psychology and neurochemistry has advanced, companies have gotten better at exploiting our instincts for profit". [1]


Interview

From an interview with the author David T. Courtwright, of the book "The Age of Addiction" , by Sean Illing:


* Sean Illing: “Limbic capitalism” is a strange phrase at the center of your book. What does it mean and why should people be aware of it?

David T. Courtwright: Well, limbic capitalism is just my shorthand for global industries that basically encourage excessive consumption and even addiction. In fact, you could make that even stronger and say not only do they encourage it but now they’ve reached the point where they’re actually designing it.

...

It’s a reference to the limbic region of your brain, which is the part of your brain that deals with pleasure, motivation, long-term memory, and other functions that are crucial for survival. You couldn’t live without your limbic system and you couldn’t reproduce without it and that’s why it has evolved. And yet that same system is now susceptible to hijacking by corporate interests in a way that actually works against your long-term survival prospects. That’s the paradox.


* Sean Illing: How is it hijacked?

David T. Courtwright: The short answer is that companies offer products that will produce a burst release of dopamine in a way that conditions and ultimately changes the brain and develops certain addictive behaviors, which is to say behaviors that are harmful. Now, people have always peddled products that are potentially addictive. But what’s happened in the last 100 years or so is that more of these commercial strategies come from highly organized corporations that do very sophisticated research and find more ways to market these addictive goods and services."

(https://www.vox.com/science-and-health/2019/10/17/18647521/capitalism-age-of-addiction-phone-david-courtwright)